Today, Sport England have announced a £16.5 million Return to Play Fund to assist the sport and physical activity sector in the UK during the Covid-19 pandemic. The fund will support groups, clubs and organisations who have been impacted by lockdown restrictions.
Return to play will help sports groups, clubs and organisations to have the correct hygiene and safety equipment, meet new facility regulations, create more open spaces and even match crowdfunding up to £10,000.
The fund is now open for applications and is made up of three parts: small grants, community assets and active together. To find out what funding your group, club or organisation may be eligible for, please see below:
Any organisation eligible for small grants will receive between £300 and £10,000 to assist with safety and hygiene equipment.
Funding will be provided for projects that require work on facing any coronavirus related challenges at a club or organisation. The funding can range between £10,001 and £50,000 and will prioritise projects in areas of high deprivation, are trying to encourage a return to playing and can be ready within 6 weeks of their application.
The final funding will help organisations and clubs to set up their own crowdfunding campaigns to help sustain themselves. Active Together will also match any crowdfunding up to £10,000, and assist with 1-2-1 coaching, campaign guidance and free online courses and webinars.
The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has greatly affected grassroots sports in the UK, and as winter approaches it is fantastic news that Sport England are bringing in funding supported by the National Lottery and Government. Local sports are hugely important to communities within the UK, both physically and mentally.
It had been well documented that some sports such as netball and basketball that had seen increased participation in 2019, could have faced the possibility of closing over 50% of their facilities if not for emergency funding.
If you were to think of the stories of major sportspeople within the UK, a lot of their successes would never have been possible without the groups, clubs and organisations that they grew up with. Take English footballer Jamie Vardy for example. Without finding a local club in Stocksbridge Park Steels F.C, he would never have had the opportunity to develop at a community club and eventually become one of the country’s best footballers. There are stories similar to Vardy’s in every sport across the UK, and we hope to see more stories being created as grassroots clubs continue to live on.
Sportside look to help everyone in the UK to connect and play sports together. We are very pleased with the fact that sports at grassroots level are receiving financial support, so we can see more people being active and engaging with their community. Long live grassroots sports.